May 28, 2020

Canary Talk Videos!

After thinking about this idea for nearly a year, TWO Canary Talk videos are ready!
Every ten days to two weeks, I will upload a new CANARY TALK video
to my Savoy Singers Aviary YouTube channel!
I enjoy other breeders making canary videos, so I am sharing my joy in canaries, as well as some tips and tricks I have learned... and will be asking questions as well.
In each video's description, there will be timestamps/shortcuts to the various segments of each video... as well as links to webpages I think contain good information on the topic.
Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel,
as I may not announce each new video on this website.  :)

May In The Bird Room --- Month By Month Journal

We are HALF WAY into breeding season in the new bird room!
I did make a Bird Room Make Over video together;  watch it below or larger sized on my YouTube channel.
The 'new' birds I bought last fall were a bit slow to set/hatch, but the hens of my own raising are doing well.  I am most excited over the beautiful American Singers!  Even a couple of older AS hens have given me chicks.  A five year old agate opal-carrying hen is on her second nest!  Several older males are also producing youngsters.

Soon, the FUN of choosing the youngsters to include in next year's breeding BEGINS!
I love to watch the young ones as they mature and begin to show their potential!
This year will be even more exciting as my favorite birds have produced Beautiful Kids!
I will have LOTS of youngsters to choose my own keepers and to sell! (See photo, left, for my Bird Room Numbers!)

I made THREE decisions:
#1)  I will be removing each egg as it is laid, and replacing it with a fake egg... storing each hen's eggs in a little cup, and returning them all when she lays the fourth or last egg.
I just left the eggs with the hens, for all the first round of nests.  And I lost a few chicks!

Half of the hens did okay.... because they laid an egg each day, thus the eggs were hatching day after day.  Most of these same hens also did not begin incubating until the final egg.  And, they fed well after hatching, searching out the youngest ones and feeding them in turn.  The other hens were less efficient, in all aspects of breeding.
The males behaved similarly:  half were skilled, half not so much.

This was a good learning experience for me.... but for this second round of nests, I removed the eggs as they were laid, and returned them all at the same time!  :)

#2)  When/IF I buy new stock birds, no matter how 'well-known' the breeder is, I will carefully, and cautiously, observe them before I mingle them with my own birds!

Ten years ago, when I first began buying 'new birds' in the fall of one year, I would pair some of them with my own birds the very next spring.  And, in the following years, I would pair their offspring with more of my own birds.
Three years ago,  I took a critical look at the 'new birds' and discovered some of them produced good offspring, and others did nothing but pass along serious faults!
In the two breeding seasons since, after culling some birds that 'should have been good' but were NOT, and keeping my own lines clean, I am now seeing some great results!!

After the past 10 years of buying birds, I am convinced the best birds are of my own breeding!  I am learning how to pair birds!  :)

I have found about 6 'good' birds, and several exceptional ones, from various American Singer breeders.  I am building the opals from very good groups of birds I bought from two breeders, both of whom I believe are no longer breeding with the same bloodlines.  I have several great, solid families of yellows from Bruce Thompson.  I am thinking of selling all my bronzes and mahoganies, but they are really very nice birds, from three breeders.

Long story short:  I have LOTS of good families.... with good solid genetics.
From here into the future, I need to remind myself: 
no matter how fun it is to get new birds,  resist the temptation!

#3)  36 pairs are too many!  :) 
I have no idea how I will make the decision of which ones to keep, but I am setting a goal of 25 pairs for 2021!  I'll keep you all updated on how well I am doing toward this goal!

May 27, 2020

Cleaning and Disinfecting Things In Our Bird Cages

I have always used a very dilute bleach solution to soak watering tubes, feed dishes, nests, and etc.
The use of bleach is a topic of debate among bird owners.
I have experimented with bleach, vinegar, citric acid, botanical/natural disinfectants and various soaps to wash bird cage accessories.

My usual method is to pour a few 'glugs' of bleach into a shallow sink of warm water, to a level to cover the water tubes, and leave them to soak for a couple hours or overnight.  I rinse each well under the faucet, keeping the original bleach water in the sink and letting the rinse water fill the sink.  I then add the feed/seed saucers to soak.
I don't soak the wooden perches, but do use a scouring pad and the bleach water to clean them.
  • Actual 'soap' may leave a cloudy residue on the dishes, if left to soak die for longer than an hour.
  • Rinse well.  I don't skimp on running clean water.
  • I have a complete second set of water tubes and cups.
    This means I can soak, rinse and let dry one set while the other set is in use in the cages.
I decided to do a little research to learn more about the proper use of various cleaners and disinfectants.

I first looked for mixing instructions for a handful of common ingredients.  Then I found the time needed for effective cleaning.
  • Heavily soiled and built up debris should be removed/rinsed before soaking.
    1 TB to 1/2 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water
    Soaking for 10 minutes is effective.
  • VINEGAR (5% white vinegar):
    1:4 vinegar to water for general cleaning
    1:1 vinegar to water for heavier cleaning.
    Soaking/remaining wet for 1 hour is recommended.
    2 TB per quart of warm water
    Soaking for an hour is recommended.
  • BOTANICAL DISINFECTANTS, using thymol oil:
    Most are Ready To Use products.
    Keeping wet for 10 minutes was the average time for effective disinfecting.
I have used all of the above, with success. I have also used hand dish soap, which seemed to rinse off well.
I dump out the 'dirty' water in a water tube every day, and put up clean ones weekly.
Unless there is algae growth, or something slimy in the bottoms, an actual disinfectant is not necessary, but it does make all the cage dishes look clean.
We have a private septic system, so I am careful to use the strongest 'antimicrobial' cleansers sparingly, to prevent problems with our septic tank and drain field.

May 5, 2020

A Good Website With LOTS Of Information is back online!

Matt's Fife Canary Page is back online!
This site has lots of information
for anyone looking for guidance to serious breeding of canaries. 
Matt also has eight episodes of Season Three